Earned wages, tracking hours and spending summers lifeguarding at the pool come with the inevitable: taxes. Do not fret; however, filing taxes should come one step at a time. Interview with Steve Brown, CPA and Founder of Brown and Maguire CPAs, PLLC., reveals the key things to know as you file.
1. What should first-time tax filers know?
Be organized and remember not to be intimidated by the process. There are step-by-step instructions on IRS.gov. Based on the information sent to you by your employer (likely a W-2), fill in the information in the tax document. Using free online software such as Intuit or Turbo Tax, basic returns should take less than half an hour to complete.
2. What phrases will I come by on tax documents?
If you have a summer or part-time job, it will make a massive difference if you begin saving early, so research how to start a Roth IRA (Individual Retirement Account). The W-2 is how your employer reports your wages. You should receive a copy to submit in your tax return. A 10-40 is the form number the IRS uses for United States Citizens. If there are any other unfamiliar phrases or terms, research them before you submit.
3. Will the IRS contact me after I submit my tax document?
With only an employer-supplied W-2 to include in your tax return, it is unlikely you will be audited or contacted by the IRS. The IRS will NEVER email, text or call you; the IRS only inquires via mail.
4. Can I submit the tax return myself?
Yes! Be confident in completing the process yourself by following the instructions above.
5. I am considering accounting as a profession. What advice do you have?
Accounting is a growing field with stable income and guaranteed open positions following an undergraduate, so I highly encourage you to pursue accounting at a university that is the most cost-effective choice to maintain the best return on your investment. About accounting specifically, any legend that says accounting is all math mistaken; I have never used trigonometry or complex calculus in my day-to-day work. However, my job is ever-changing and always dynamic. I have a lot of social interaction and only do simple math.
6. When is the tax filing deadline?
Traditionally, April 15th is the official tax deadline. This year, however, tax filings are due on April 18th. You can file an extension to the return, but the extension is an extension of time to file, not pay. If you extend the filing but do not pay, you will be subject to penalties and interest.